There are three ways to cut stickers or labels; digital cutting, die-cutting, and laser cutting.
Laser cutting uses high-powered lasers to vaporize material in its path, creating a cut. Lasers can cut any shape, are incredibly fast (up to 100m/minute), and has a cutting accuracy of 0.1mm.
More of the digital printing industry uses laser cutting because it's so fast and accurate with little setup involved, perfect for short print runs.
We can cut labels & stickers using digitally controlled knives.
Digital motors control small, ultra-shape metal blades to cut stickers, such as on a flatbed like this:
Popular suppliers of flatbed cutter include; Zund, Summa & many others.
These machines range from entry-level to costing $120,000+ and cut leather, plastics, cardboard, fabrics, and many other materials.
Traditional die-cutting had been around for centuries. A metal 'die,' which is a thin strip of shaped metal, is stamped into the printed media to cut the label. Like this:
Once the die's made, it's super fast to cut 1000s stickers, making it an attractive way to cut labels, even today.
A more modern take on traditional die-cutting is semi-rotary die-cutting, used widely in the label industry. The die is attached to a roll, and as the printed web passes under the roller, it cuts the sticker.
It looks like this:
It's great for simple shapes such as circles, rectangles, squares, and ovals.